IaC Scanning | SentinelOne

IaC Scanning: A Comprehensive Guide for Developers

One of the fundamental principles of a software development process is infrastructure, which directly contributes to the reliable performance of a software program. Servers, load balancers, firewalls, databases, and even intricate container clusters can be included in this infrastructure.

Infrastructure factors apply throughout the development process, not just in production situations. They comprise many platforms and technologies, such as testing tools, CI/CD platforms, and staging environments. The complexity of the software product increases along with these infrastructure considerations.

In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about IaC Scanning, how it works, its uses, and why you need it.

What is IaC scanning?

IaC scanning analyzes and identifies security flaws in IaC templates and infrastructure configurations to secure cloud, infrastructure, and app deployments.

IaC scanning tools provide IaC security by automatically assessing various network, infrastructure, or application codebase components for vulnerabilities or misconfigurations. This protects against data loss, cyberattacks, downtime, and deployment errors in live environments. The IaC tools employ a set of established security policies and best practices to aid in identifying any malicious or prospective security risk within the systems.

The principle of least privilege, network segmentation, data encryption, and resource authorization policies are some of the security best practices that can be used to create this ruleset. IaC scanning in the pre-production environment uses this consistent security ruleset and scanner scripts in the early stages of software development to achieve IaC security.

How does IaC scanning work?

For a long time, organizations have used software composition analysis (SCA) and static application security testing (SAST) techniques to scan codebases for errors and vulnerabilities. The problem with most SCA and SAST tools is that they do not prioritize IaC scripts because they were designed to scan feature codebases.

As a result, specialized IaC scanning tools for IaC templates and codebase are required. The procedure is essentially the same regardless of which IaC scanner you use.

IaC scanning begins with integration into development workflows prior to the build step. IaC then checks IaC templates for configuration errors and security flaws by running security scans against them. This necessitates inspecting new commits for infrastructure changes that differ from the original template.

As part of IaC scanning, IaC components such as templates, modules, files, and so on are compared to a predefined list of security policies and best practices. Following that, the IaC scanning tool looks for missing variables in the form of incorrect configurations and settings that do not meet legal requirements. DevSecOPs teams can be quickly informed of any problems that need to be resolved before any IaC deployments are completed.

Why do you need IaC security Scanning?

Let’s talk about some of the security risks associated with Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) in general before we get into the benefits of IaC scanning.

  1. Complex Environments: Modern enterprise networks often include on-premises data centers, hybrid cloud environments, and multi-cloud environments. This forms complex infrastructures, making the development of an efficient, secure, and manageable IaC codebase difficult.
  2. Compliance Violations: Modern development necessitates that organizations adhere to various regulatory standards and security controls, including HIPAA, PCI DSS, GDPR, and others. Compliance violations occur when these controls are not enforced during the IaC process.
  3. Evolving Cyber Threats: Cyber Threats evolve because of modern IT infrastructure advancements and the widening cybersecurity landscape. IaC engineers face a challenge in ensuring their infrastructure is secure from the most recent cyber threats.
  4. Broad Attack Surface, Potential Data Exposure: IaC templates may contain vulnerabilities and incorrect deployments, increasing the attack surface and potentially exposing data. Important assets, for example, may be exposed to the internet from source control due to secrets hidden within the IaC codebase.

So, how does IaC scanning help?

Cloud security is no longer an afterthought once development is complete. DevOps teams in modern software development approaches have shifted the security paradigm to the left to form DevSecOps.

DevSecOps integrate security throughout the software development lifecycle. This allows you to incorporate security into your infrastructure-as-code templates and container images very early.

IaC scanning occurs during the software’s pre production phase, reducing the potential cost and impact of security breaches caused by misconfigurations. As a result, IaC scanning contributes to the shift-left cloud security strategy by shifting an organization’s security paradigm from detection to prevention. Developers who use IaC scanning benefit in a variety of ways, including:

  • IaC scanning assists developers in identifying and detecting configuration errors, unsecured deployments, and security holes that could expose the infrastructure to attack.
  • IaC scanning allows developers to validate their systems against a predefined set of security rules and recognized regulatory benchmarks.
  • In general, organizations can use IaC scanning to create a security shift-left paradigm to prevent potential cyberattacks.
  • When IaC scanning tools detect infrastructure vulnerabilities or misconfigurations, they notify developers and guide them through the remediation process, allowing for more secure deployments.
  • IaC scanning is incorporated into the CI/CD pipelines by implementing guardrails that reject any dubious pull requests and builds, preventing any misconfigurations from being released to production.

Why use SentinelOne for IaC scanning?

Cloud computing drives innovation and business transformation. However, it is riddled with security challenges as the threat landscape continues to evolve. The expansion of attack surfaces and increasing security concerns are making organizations worry about how to prepare for what’s unexpected.

Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) scanning is a critical component of modern security strategies among enterprises due to the pervasive use of IaC today. Scanning IaC templates can help reduce security risks associated with IaC by identifying oversights and misconfigurations known to result in data breaches.

However, IaC alone isn’t enough to improve holistic cloud security posture. That’s where SentinelOne’s unified Cloud-native Application Protection Platform (CNAPP) provides complete cloud protection.

Its cutting-edge Offensive Security Engine identifies zero-day exploits and analyzes threats from the attackers’ perspective. SentinelOne’s CNAPP includes Infrastructure-as-Code scanning, compliance monitoring, vulnerability management, Docker image and secrets scanning, serverless security, container security, and cloud misconfigurations remediation. SentinelOne’s CNAPP goes a step further by enforcing shift-left security and applies post-incident response planning and analysis. It ensures zero false-positives, evidence-based reporting, blocks AI-based attacks, and enhances infrastructure visibility.